Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Coin of Sur Sultans of India



General Information


The Sultans of Delhi – Suri Line, 945-962 H/1538-1554 AD

Ruler and dates

Farid al-Din Sher Shah ibn Miyan Hasan Sur, (945-952 H/1538-1545 AD)

Mint name

Hisar – “Castle”, locality unknown, probably an army mint


950 H (1543-1544 AD)

Metal and denomination

Silver rupi

Weight and measurement

11.38 g / 27.0 mm

Legend and Design



within square la ilah illa allah / muhammad rasul allah / darb hisar
“no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, struck Hisar”

Marginal segments

(largely off flan) at 12:00 abu bakr al-sadiq, at 3:00 ‘umar al-faruq, at 6:00 ‘uthman al-‘affan, at 9:00
‘ali al-murtada
the names of the four “Rightly Guided” Caliphs with their epithets, Abu Bakr, the faithful witness, ‘Umar, who distinguishes truth from falsehood, ‘Uthman the defender, ‘Ali the chosen one”



within square Sher Shah al-Sultan / khallada Allah mulkahu / 950
“the Sultan Sher Shah, may God perpetuate his sovereignty, 950” (In western Arabic and Persian numerals the year on the coin could be read as 945, but in India at this time the “four” is a five and the “five” a zero, thus 950)
below, in nagari script, the Sultan’s name

Marginal segments

(mostly off flan) at 12:00 al-sultan al-‘adil, at 300 abu’l-muzaffar, at 6:00 farid al-dunya wa’l-din, at
9:00 illegible
“the just Sultan Father of Victory, Farid al-Dunya wa’l-Din”

Historical Note 

The Suri Sultans of Delhi ruled northern India between the first and second reigns of Humayun ibn Babur, the second Mughal emperor, between 937 and 963 H (1530-1556 AD).

The Surs were a small Afghan tribe who came from the north-west frontier region of India, which is now in Pakistan.

Sher (meaning “lion”) Shah’s father, Mihan Hasan Sur, had served the Lodi Sultans of Delhi, as did Sher Shah himself until he came to terms with both Babur, the first Mughal ruler, and Humayun.
Sher Shah gradually gained power while Humayun was absent in Gujarat, but then Humayun awoke to the fact that Sher Shah actually posed a threat, and launched two attacks on him, first in 946 (1539) and again in the following year, neither of which was successful.

On the second occasion Humayun was so badly defeated that he fled to the protection of Shah Tahmasp in Iran, leaving Sher Shah to rule India from Dehli and Agra.

During his reign Sher Shah became one of India’s greatest rulers. He established peace and security for his subjects, and was responsible for many public works, including the laying of roads which were lined with fruit trees and hundreds of caravanserais for travellers.

Sher Shah also implemented administrative reforms, one of the most durable of which was the replacement of the traditional silver tanka with the rupi (rupee). The weight of the usual silver coin was raised from around 10.8 to 11.6 grams, a standard that it was to maintain for several centuries.

Sher Shah met an accidental death in 952 (1545) after five years on the throne. This was caused when his forces were besieging the fortress of Kalinjar. He climbed to a high tower and ordered that he be given a supply of rockets. One of these was fired against the fortress, but bounced back into a pile of ammunition which exploded, injuring Sher Shah so badly that he died a few days later, after the fortress had been captured.

Sher Shah was succeeded by five ineffectual rulers who could not prevent Humayun from re-establishing Mughal power.

Source: http://www.davidmus.dk/en/collections/islamic/dynasties/sultanates/coins/c449?show=comment

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